To give you an overview of the island of Santorini, here’s the bus map. I stayed in Kamari on the Eastern side and today’s post is about the main town Fira and the villages on the Caldera (Western side facing the volcano Nea Kameni).

Local city buses ran every 20 minutes from Kamari to Fira, which is the central hub for all transportation and the main city. Fares range from 1,40-2 Euros a ride (about $1.75-$2.25) and the ride was in an airconditioned tour bus like this:

Water on the island is safe for washing and brushing teeth, but not drinking, so everyone carried water bottles with them everywhere; the island has no ground water and only gets 11 inches of rain per year, so a desalination plant is the only source of water on this volcanic island for all plants and people. The daily morning delivery of water bottles at a small mini market looks like this:

The entire island is built on cliffs that dramatically rise and steeply fall into the sea.

Hotels and homes line the Caldera and the only way to get to them is to walk down the narrow steep paths.

Internet cafes abound, but wireless is nearly nonexistent in the windy beach areas. This is Mylos Cafe in Firostefani which offers food, drinks and views along with internet service for 3 Euros ($5) for 30 minutes.

This is the view out of the windows at Mylos Cafe:

I got great cardio workouts everyday just walking around town….this was the first set of stairs up from a hotel to the main road:

At the top of those stairs, there were these:

Many homes still use very old fashioned methods of locking up their houses, like padlocks.

The main town of Fira can be ugly, touristy, and crowded, but there are a few very beautiful side streets.

Fira is also home to some designer jewelry made with black diamonds that reflect the volcanic aspect of the island.

Even though donkeys are still used in remote areas, for the most part they are mainly tourist attraction rides up from the Old Port to Fira.

You have a choice of walking the 466 steps from the Old Port to Fira, taking a donkey, or taking the tram (I chose the tram).

The Old Port still has lots of boats taking people on boat tours of the volcano, hot springs and around the Caldera, but the new port Athinos, is where all the big cruise ships and ferries land now.

Views from the Caldera are breathtaking.

Imagine if this was your home and you had to climb these steps every time you wanted to go to the street!

No wonder the Olympics started in Greece:)